SUBJECT: Monitoring the centrifugal pump. 9-11

A sensible predictive maintenance program for centrifugal pumps is still an elusive dream for most plants. Unexpected pump shut down continues to be the rule. Most premature pump shutdowns are related to seal and bearing failures. The classic predictive maintenance techniques of machinery history, visual inspection and vibration analysis do not work well with products that fail prematurely, rather than wear out.

If we elected to monitor the pump performance and use this data to predict an upcoming seal or bearing failure what exactly should we monitor? Lets look at some of the options:

THE WET END OF THE PUMP

You can monitor:

THE STUFFING BOX AND SEAL AREA

You can monitor:

THE BEARING CASE

You can monitor:

In an ideal preventative maintenance program all of these readouts would be incorporated into a single multi-pin outlet similar to the type found in all automobiles manufactured in the past few years. This outlet would then feed the information into a hand held computer that would be supplied with additional information retrieved off a bar code, on a tag, hung on the pump.

The bar tag information could be entered by anyone familiar with the process in addition to information supplied by both the pump and seal supplier. It would contain data about the fluid you were pumping, critical dimensions, and information about the bearing lubricant. It could include:

Now that we have an idea about what we can monitor, exactly what is it we would like to predict about pump performance? Wouldn't it be great to know the following?

Now that we know what can be done, and any instrument technician should have no problem figuring out how to install the indicators, what are you going to do with the data you can collect? Here are some ideas.

First you need the base information:

Now that we have the base information and the pump readings, we should be able to prevent some of the most common seal and bearing premature failures.

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